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Whelan to retire from NYCB Oct 18, 2014

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Official release:

WENDY WHELAN TO BID FAREWELL TO NEW YORK CITY BALLET DURING THE COMPANY’S 2014 FALL SEASON
Whelan to Give Farewell Performance on Saturday, October 18 at 8 p.m.

New York City Ballet announced today that Principal Dancer Wendy Whelan will retire from the Company during the 2014 Fall Season. Whelan has performed with NYCB for 30 years, having first danced with the Company as an apprentice beginning in 1984. She became a member of the corps de ballet in 1986, was promoted to Soloist in 1989, and became a Principal Dancer in 1991. The program for Whelan’s farewell performance with NYCB on Saturday, October 18 at 8 p.m. will be announced at a later date.

Whelan, who underwent hip surgery followed by a successful recovery period in recent months, has not performed during NYCB’s current 2013-14 season but is also planning to return to NYCB to dance during the Company’s 2014 Spring Season. Her repertory for the Spring Season, which will take place from April 29 through June 8 at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, will be announced at a later date.

During her extraordinary career with NYCB, Whelan has danced leading roles in countless works by NYCB’s co-founding choreographers George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, and has also had roles created for her by a vast array of choreographers, including Robbins, NYCB’s Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins, Jorma Elo, William Forsythe, Wayne McGregor, Lynne Taylor- Corbett, Twyla Tharp, Ulysses Dove, and numerous others.

Whelan has also had an ongoing creative collaboration with former NYCB Soloist and Resident Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, who created leading roles for Whelan in seven of his works for NYCB. In addition, Whelan has originated leading roles in all three of the works that choreographer Alexei Ratmansky has created for New York City Ballet -- Russian Seasons, Concerto DSCH, and Namouna, A Grand Divertissement.

Whelan was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky where she began taking dance classes at the age of three. At the age of eight she performed as a mouse with the Louisville Ballet in its annual production of The Nutcracker, and that year she also began her professional ballet training with the Louisville Ballet Academy. In 1982 Whelan received a scholarship for the summer course at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet, and a year later became a full-time student at the School.

In addition to her work with New York City Ballet, Whelan has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, and has appeared as a guest artist with The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, the Maryinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia, and with Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company. Whelan appeared in the Coffee variation in the 1993 film version of George Balanchine’s The NutcrackerTM, and has also appeared with NYCB in several nationally televised Live From Lincoln Center broadcasts.

In 2007 Whelan was nominated for Britain’s Olivier Award and Critics’ Circle Award for her performances with Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company at Sadler’s Wells in London. She also received the 2007 Dance Magazine Award, and in 2009 was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Arts from Bellarmine University in her hometown of Louisville. In 2011 she was honored with both The Jerome Robbins Award and Bessie Award for Sustained Achievement in Performance.

During the summer of 2013 Whelan premiered an evening-length program of new dance called Restless Creature at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, which featured Whelan performing in four original works created by choreographers Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks, and Alejandro Cerrudo. This summer, Whelan will perform Restless Creature in London and at the Vail International Dance Festival, and following her retirement from NYCB, she will bring the evening-length work to 12 U.S. cities from January – May 2015.

In addition, Whelan will embark on a second project of new works with Royal Ballet Principal Dancer Edward Watson, which will premiere in London in July of 2015, and will also be performed at New York City Center in the spring of 2016. In conjunction with this project, Whelan as been appointed Artistic Associate at City Center, and beginning on November 1 City Center will serve as Whelan’s home for developing future projects and collaborative work for two years.

Single tickets for Whelan’s farewell performance with NYCB on October 18 will go on sale later this year. For more information on New York City Ballet visit nycballet.com.

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What an amazing career! I imagine her farewell performance will sell out in lightning speed.

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Whelan and Watson---such a superb partnership--can't waittiphat.gif

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Although I saw so many of the last Balanchine and Robbins dancers -- some from their primes, some from past their primes, and some during different stages of development -- Whelan's retirement hits me harder than Nichols,' Kistler's, or even Soto's. Maybe part is that a number of dancers left in the decade after Balanchine's death under less than celebratory terms, but even though I've been following most of her career from afar, Whelan represents the big transition more to me than any other dancer, especially having forged such a long artistic relationship with Wheeldon, a major choreographer who was not Martins. She was there long enough to have been at SAB and to have been influenced directly by Balanchine's presence and certainly Robbins', unlike a lot of current dancers who are getting it second-hand, but it's as if she was looking outward, when so many were reconciling the past to the uneasy present.

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The hook up with City Center is a great idea. Frankly, I think her Restless Creature program belongs in a bigger venue than the Joyce Theater, based on how quickly the program sold when it was scheduled at the Joyce. She has a huge fan base here in NYC.

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Currently, the only people being allowed to buy tickets to Wendy's farewell are those who have a current Saturday night subscription. In August, the powers that be (according to a NYCB ticket salesman) will decide how to "distribute" the remaining seats.

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Amour, the Powers That Be must be aware that this will be a hot ticket, as it is not listed as part of any Saturday evening subscription package.

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This is not what I've heard. I've heard that subscribers will receive invitations this summer for the Whelan farewell. I've never heard that Saturday evening subscribers in particular are getting tickets ahead of other subscribers. As noted above, the Whelan farewell is not availabel on any subscription. Can anyone with a current Sat evening subscription confirm this - did your renewal contain a Whelan farewell ticket offer?

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I had a "create-your-own" subscription last year, so I got the big package on subscriptions a few weeks ago. The only mention of the Whelan Farewell is on p. 13: "Program TBA, not available on subscription." The package does emphasize that renewing subscribers are "first in line" for the Nutcracker and an order form is included, but nothing like that is mentioned for Whelan. I wouldn't be surprised if they raise the prices, open all the tiers, and give subscribers first crack at tickets, though.

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Oh yes. I'm expecting that the prices for the Whelan farewell will be very high.

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I had a "create-your-own" subscription last year, so I got the big package on subscriptions a few weeks ago. The only mention of the Whelan Farewell is on p. 13: "Program TBA, not available on subscription."

I, too, have a "create-your-own" subscription and was told, by phone that those type of subscriptions are not being given priority. However the phone rep told me subscribers of programs created by NYCB are being given priority. Those subscribers will have to reply by August about whether they're going to the farewell. At that point NYCB will decide how to distribute the rest of the tickets (if there are any).

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I was told that they are offering to donors and patrons first, which makes sense. They tried to get me to join the Guild because Guild members are supposedly getting priority over subscribers. I'll take my chances as a subscriber.

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If she wants it, and "Restless Creature" suggests that she might, I hope Whelan has the kind of post-ballet career that Baryshnikov has had. I for one will show up whatever she does.

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That's a big deal. Does she currently teach at SAB?

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That's a big deal. Does she currently teach at SAB?

She's not on the official faculty list at SAB, but it's certainly possible that she has done a little teaching there now and then. Still, haven't other principals at NYCB taken on some serious teaching responsibilities well before they retire from the stage? Makes me wonder if she will be focussing on coaching Balanchine technique and perhaps setting ballets herself eventually.

http://www.sab.org/school/faculty/

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I meant it was a big deal for BAE to get her on the faculty. Maybe that was her first choice but I'd think she could get a teaching job anywhere she wanted based on her performing career alone.

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If she wants it, and "Restless Creature" suggests that she might, I hope Whelan has the kind of post-ballet career that Baryshnikov has had. I for one will show up whatever she does.

Or Guillem.

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Whelan has had numerous injuries that have taken her out for long periods of time. I'd love to see her dance more but I don't think it's possible.

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BALLET ACADEMY EAST
Announces Addition of
Wendy Whelan
to the Pre-Professional Division Faculty


Ballet Academy East is proud to announce that Wendy Whelan will join the Pre-Professional Division Faculty. Ms. Whalen's tenure will begin with Ballet Academy East's Summer Intensive from August 18-29 and will continue through the school year, which begins on September 16, 2014. Ms. Whalen will primarily teach the upper level students of the Pre-Professional Division.



Wendy Whelan was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, where at the age of three she began taking dance classes with Virginia Wooton, a local teacher. At age eight she performed as a mouse with the Louisville Ballet in its annual production of The Nutcracker. Joining the Louisville Ballet Academy that year, she began intense professional training. In 1981 she received a scholarship to the summer course at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet and a year later she moved to New York to become a full-time student there. She was invited to become a member of the New York City Ballet corps de ballet in 1986 and was promoted to principal dancer in 1991. Whelan has performed a wide spectrum of the Balanchine repertory and worked closely with Jerome Robbins on many of his ballets. She has originated featured roles in 13 ballets for Christopher Wheeldon, as well as in the ballets of William Forsythe, Alexei Ratmansky, Wayne McGregor, Jorma Elo, Shen Wei, Jerome Robbins and Twyla Tharp. In 2007, Whelan was nominated for an Olivier Award and a Critics Circle Award for her performances with Morphoses/Wheeldon Company. She has been a guest artist with The Royal Ballet and with the Kirov Ballet. She received the 2007 Dance Magazine Award, and in 2009 was given a Doctorate of Arts, honoris causa, from Bellarmine University. In 2011, she was honored with both The Jerome Robbins Award and a Bessie Award for her Sustained Achievement in Performance.

In 2012, Whelan began developing new collaborative projects. Her inaugural project, Restless Creature, which premiered at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in August of 2013, is a suite of four duets, created by and danced with four of todays most cutting edge contemporary dancer/choreographers, Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks and Alejandro Cerrudo. Restless Creature will travel to London and Vail in 2014 and will tour in the US starting in January 2015. Whelan was recently appointed an Artistic Associate at New York's City Center and for two years beginning November 1, 2014, City Center will be her home for developing future projects. She resides in New York City with her husband, the artist David Michalek.

About Ballet Academy East

Ballet Academy East trains dancers for professional careers in ballet. The faculty is led by artistic director Darla Hoover and includes Maxim Beloserkovsky, Cynthia Birdwell, Olga Dvorovenko, Peter Frame, Jenna Lavin, Joseph Malbrough, Tara Mora, Francis Patrelle, Elizabeth Walker and Cheryl Yeager. The comprehensive syllabus was created by Darla Hoover and is designed to develop technically strong, expressive ballet dancers, who ultimately can adapt to any style. The curriculum includes technique classes, pointe, partnering, variations, stretch, men's weight training, modern, and character. Performing opportunities include two annual productions: the Studio Showing in February and the Spring Performance in May. The director and founder of Ballet Academy East is Julia Dubno.



For more information, visit www.baenyc.com.

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I meant it was a big deal for BAE to get her on the faculty. Maybe that was her first choice but I'd think she could get a teaching job anywhere she wanted based on her performing career alone.

I know someone who's kid trains at BAE. Wendy has taught there before, but I guess it was in the capacity of a visiting guest teacher rather than the formality of a faculty member.

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For people who are not subscribers or donors, FYI the cheapest ticket price for the farewell will be $62 ($59 plus $3 faciltiy fee).

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NYCB just tweeted:

While tix are now on sale for almost all perfs, the Wendy Whelan Farewell will not be on sale until early Sept. Stay tuned...


Someone asked if subscribers would get early access, and NYCB replied:

@reviewingdrama We are currently in a priority period for all those that have subscribed to date.

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I'm a subscriber and I already received my Wendy farewell tickets in the mail.

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